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Gentleness In Action
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1, underline added for emphasis).
What image comes to your mind when you hear the word “gentleness”? I think most men (and probably most women too ) envision someone that is extremely kind, does not cause any trouble, and always has a smile on their face. However, we can show gentleness and also be actively engaged in the lives of others. In fact, we can be gentle while helping a fellow brother or sister in Christ become aware and repent of the sin in their life. Some might try to argue that what somebody else does in their life is their business. But how are we to follow the instructions of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to “build each other up” if we do not help to tear down those things that are separating us from God?
I think it is important to stop here and acknowledge that all Christians can and do sin. While we are all growing in Christian perfection, the only one to achieve it on earth was Jesus. We all know that a Christian is called to trust in God. However, the calling goes deeper and requires us to stop living for the sins of our human nature (flesh) desires (Galatians 5:24). We are no less of a Christian if we fall into sin and fail to immediately follow the direction of the Spirit away from sin. Paul is telling us that we need help, and God will provide this help in the form of other Christians.
Paul is expanding upon Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another.” He is teaching others, particularly spiritually mature Christians, to step in and help reconcile us to God. It is imperative that those performing this task are clearly walking with the Spirit. We can tell if they are in the Spirit because then the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will be evident in the them. In this case, the fruit of gentleness is important. To avoid being tempted by the same sin, they must possess humility. Paul teaches about the importance of humility in Colossians 3:12. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (underline added for emphasis)”
The bottom line is a Spiritually mature person must help restore sinners in order for the body of Christ to continue to grow and function. To restore something is to make it whole and functional again. When it comes to sin, it must involve repentance and a return to a Spirit-led life. We all have sinned and made poor choices, but just like the prodigal son (Luke 15), the Father is always waiting to welcome us back!
Prayer: Dear God, We confess our sins of omission and commission in helping to restore others. Please reconcile us to You and be with us as we work with You to reconcile others to You. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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